Britain snuggles up to China
George Osborne is on a five-day trade mission to China, in the hope of turning the UK into China’s second-biggest trading partner by 2025.
British Chancellor George Osborne is on a five-day trade mission to China, in the hope of turning the UK into China's second-biggest trading partner by 2025. The US is currently the biggest, followed by Germany. UK exports to China have grown fivefold since 2003, and China is now the sixth-biggest market for UK goods and services, but Osborne said Britain must "raise its game" to raise annual exports from £25bn to £30bn.
What the commentators said
Osborne "is right to seek a closer bilateral economic relationship with Beijing", said the FT. But he should be careful. For example, "allowing Chinese companies to operate at the heart of Britain's nuclear industry may threaten UK national security". Moreover, there's a "lack of reciprocity" in this relationship. For example, there's no chance that a British company could get involved in "a construction contract in the highly militarised Xinjiang region" that Osborne visited this week. Osborne's long-term bet on China is "the correct one". But he needs guarantees that make the relationship "more balanced".